I’m Baaaaaaaack!

Did you miss me?

Well, this will be a short one (for me)! There will probably be more to come after I debrief with Ivan tomorrow morning about Desert Classic and after my husband (finally) manages to send me the photos and videos he took.

So here’s the quick update about my most recent competition:

First, I had a new dress made.

color

I know it is not the best picture but you can get an idea of the bright colors. That’s right….color! And I actually liked the color combo on the floor from the pictures I’ve seen so far.

What I didn’t like was my big belly. And the fact that my big belly wasn’t smoothed out/hidden with draping or ruching. I didn’t see the final product until the day before the competition so it was like, well, this is what it is and it is either wear it or don’t because there really isn’t time to fix it. I think it will look so much better on me with a flatter stomach but that was not to be on Thursday.

Thursday was Latin and I danced very inconsistently. I got marks all over the place but didn’t make the final from a semi final with 14 couples in the Latin closed bronze A scholarship. So I was kinda bummed about that but even more bummed that I was feeling really exhausted, had some balance issues, and felt like Ivan and I were pushing and pulling each other all over the floor. Basically that means I wasn’t “moving my ass” like I need to and because I’m late he tries to help to get me where I need to go which creates resistance in our hold and then, paradoxically, I move even less and also get more exhausted. It is a vicious cycle and totally sucks. So I wasn’t over my feet or moving fast enough and this caused a chain reaction which compounded the problem. And it meant Ivan was kinda disappointed in my performance because we both knew I was off and have the potential to do better. So boo! Thursday was not my best day.

And wouldn’t you know it – I did best in stupid Jive again! I hate that dance in terms of the cardio it requires but somehow, even though I only know like 3 figures, and we like never practice it, that is the dance I placed best in most consistently. Go figure! lol.

But still, there are always learning opportunities just from participating. I realized how little I had mentally prepared for the competition. I realized, in hindsight, the importance of putting energy into getting myself into a strong frame of mind before stepping on the floor. I became more aware of things I wish to improve and work on, and I also became more clear on how I wish to direct my physical fitness training in the near future.

Because I’m done with not feeling awesome about myself when I step on the ballroom floor. I don’t want to put myself through this anymore. I must change dramatically. Period. It takes a lot of energy, strength, and confidence, to really dance, and I just couldn’t muster it about myself on Thursday, especially when I was so aware of my large belly and arms. I mean, I felt like I kept myself under control in a pretty good to neutral energy, but my lack of confidence gnawed at the back of my mind. I was aware of it on some level and when I saw a picture my husband took of me from the back, I looked as large as a male trucker. Yuck! I’m over it.

It is too hard to have so much shame about how I look, to not feel feminine or pretty, and to get out on a dance floor and pretend like I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m not, and a I can’t fake it. Frankly, I find it off-putting when people think they are too cool for school so I have reservations about being or acting like that. You know, I feel like my authenticity and emotionality are some of my greatest strengths as well as weaknesses. It is why people can “feel” me when I am dancing, and why, I think, they connect with me. So when I’m feeling good and strong, it is really great. But it also means I can’t fool anybody when I’m feeling down about myself and my body. There is no question in my mind that how I feel about my body affects how I show up in dancing…and in life. And it is not my best. So I’m waiting to hear the verdict from Ivan because I know he mentally stockpiled a bunch of feedback for me about the competition and we have a lesson tomorrow. Also, I’m contemplating not doing another competition for a while, though the next one on my radar is Galaxy here locally and local comps are harder to say no to. It is in September so I think I will wait and see how I’m feeling about it at the end of August and make a decision at that time. Because it isn’t okay with me just to go through the motions and to dance just because….it is important to me to have purpose and meaning in my dancing and I wasn’t able to generate that as strongly as I did for previous competitions. I attribute this to my lack of consistent, significant progress toward my weight loss goals and the subsequent feelings of lower self-esteem thus created.

So anyways, more to come about what’s next, but Thursday was kinda blah. Friday was a day to rest, regather myself, and recuperate. My husband was along for the trip and we joined Ivan and Marieta for a little jaunt up to the top of a nearby mountain, 9000 feet high, where the temperature was a lovely 62 degrees. We got there by riding in an air tram that spun 360 degrees while traveling upwards on steel cables for 10 minutes. It was a fun and delightful day.

Saturday was Rhythm. There was more competition in terms of number of couples in my division in Latin than in American Rhythm, but I think there was maybe more chaos in the ballroom because there were tv crews filming for two separate shows in the ballroom. It is going to be very interesting to watch both shows as I personally know some of the people they are following for the one to be on TLC, and I have come to meet some of the people to be featured on the other show, I think for the A & E channel. I had to sign a release because they had me in one of the frames dancing in the background while they were filming one of their main protagonists so you may also see me on tv some time soon ha ha ha!

In any case, I did much better in American Rhythm, basically placing first in most heats and winning the scholarship round from a 7 couple final (no semi final). Also, and more importantly, Ivan felt my energy was better and I felt stronger as well. We were not pushing and pulling too much through the frame and I was more on my own feet. Well, this was after we had a bit of a come-to-Jesus meeting after he had let go of me, releasing me completely from the frame, multiple times on the floor, in front of the judges, so I would get the point about hanging on him, pushing to hard, relying on him for my balance, and all that, but also so that I could have easily fallen on my ass. Don’t get me wrong, it’s FANTASTIC kinestetic feedback. I’d welcome it on a lesson. But please don’t let me get away with things on lessons repeatedly and then do this on the floor when it counts!?! I was miffed! Anyways, we worked through it, which is the most important thing, I suppose, and I ended up with fantastic results. As Felipe Telona Jr. jibed me, “You should have brought a broom!” and, “I’m glad you are leaving now so the rest of us have a chance!”

first

When I got off the floor and my husband took this picture he was like, “And you won an…..envelope?!” It contained a check, silly! Double what I got for People’s Choice, which was very nice – the equivalent of a few more lessons, because, yeah, all money gets converted to the equivalent number of dance lessons in my brain. 🙂

So I still managed to make it into the top 20 students, which surprised me with as few heats as I did, and so did Ivan’s other student, plus he was 7th place top teacher with the 2 of us, and he and Marieta placed 3rd in Pro Open Am Rhythm, second only to Emannuel and Liana and Yuki Haraguchi and her new partner.

Best of all, no injuries, I’m not exhausted, and I had the energy today to go to ballet class after work plus I went to the grocery store to replace all my perishables and pulled out the items I’d prepared last week from the freezer, which is to say that I’m baaaaaack! Back to my eating plan, and getting my fitness plan in gear, and right back into my normal activities. I didn’t run myself into the ground this time so I won’t need a week to recuperate like I did after People’s Choice.

Alright – gotta get to bed! TTFN!

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The Joys Of Fake-Tanning

Goodness me…

The blog is getting away from me! I can’t believe how long it has been since I have been able to find a moment to sit and write. Again, so much has happened since I last posted.

Really, there is only one thing on my mind….

Though I go to work daily, and do some online writing jobs, and try to get some sleep, every spare moment my mind wanders to the Desert Classic. A jolt of excitement flushes through my stomach every time I imagine what it will feel like to be there, only a few short days from now.

But until then, there’s a lot of work to do!

The dancing is pretty much where it is going to be. Ivan and I can discuss small details at this point and work on performance, and also just continue to go through the steps and connect. I think that’s probably the most important thing right before a competition.

Ivan is actually really excited about it. I, well, I had a nightmare about it last night! I dreamt that he was late and while I was looking for him, I missed most of my dance heats. Then, I couldn’t find my dance costume. I couldn’t get the pantyhose on. I couldn’t move fast enough. We finally made it on the dance floor, but Ivan was in a foul mood, and the judges didn’t like our dancing. In fact, one was correcting us while we were competing! After that round was finished, we went to go talk, and Ivan was talking so much that we missed the last heats that I had on my ticket. Can you say anxiety much?

But Ivan, well, he says he’s going to do great with Marieta on Saturday night because he will have been dancing on the floor with me all weekend. He will have the lay of the land and feel comfortable in the space. For him, it’s worse to just show up and get thrown on the floor. It’s worse to not be dancing all day long and then have to dance from a “cold start,” if you will. Well, I do what I can to help! Just kidding. But still, I’m glad that he seems ready to enjoy the competition.

Anyways, last weekend we went to the lake again, but this time we had a speed boat. Ivan was really amazing. After only like two tries, he made it up on the wakeboard.

Me, I wasn’t so successful.

But like Marieta, I too got to ride the inner tube.

But boy were we all sore for the next few days! I was laughing with Marieta because she and Ivan couldn’t even practice Monday and Tuesday because they hurt so bad they could barely move.

But move we have, anyways. Marieta and her mom, Ivan’s mother-in-law, Nona, are making me a second dress, like I mentioned. It has evolved into something entirely different from the original sketch, but I’m liking it so much better. It has lovely draping that hides all my bulges and bumps. It is now off the shoulder because of how the arms fit when they were attached, but again, it is an improvement to the original design that just sort of happened. I think this dress has a mind of it’s own. It’s designing itself! Anyways, they’ve promised me the dress will be done by Monday so I can have it and try it on in case any last-minute fixes need to be done and I’ll share photos when I can.

Also, I have decided to tan for this competition, and not be “yogurt” as Ivan calls it. Yes, I have a pale complexion normally, but now I’m living in an alternate universe where I’m going to a tanning salon, for a spray tan, of course. And it feels funny to be darker, but Ivan really liked it when I did an at-home version by myself.

I learned a few things from my experiment which I will share with you here. Please don’t laugh too much. Well, scratch that, actually laugh tons. I’m laughing at myself, and just glad I gave myself enough lead time for my home-done tan to fade a bit.

So if you are going to purchase a spray bottle of tanning stuff to do at home, learn from my mistakes. Number one, clean your hands, especially the palms, right after you spray. Mine have looked like I have dirt on them perpetually for a week!

Next, and this one seems obvious, spray evenly. I managed to create some very straight lines on my body of where I sprayed and where I missed. Like on my fingers, there was a line of tan and a line of white. And on my arms, It was like a painted street divider from the side to the under part of my arm.

Then, there is streaking. Yeah, on the back part of my legs to the inner calf there were streaks where the liquid collected. In some areas it created dark streaks. In others, it created, well, nothing. My yogurt-y skin shone through in stark contrast to the nearby copper, like coal eyes embedded in a snowman’s face.

Finally, it did look kinda orange. But, even with all my blunders, Ivan liked it when I showed up for my lesson Wednesday. I do think it made my calves look slightly smaller.

But really, Paragon was right….it DID affect the way I felt. I felt more like a “real” ballroom dancer. Like a fat Karina Smirnoff or something. It was a little bit addicting! Not that I’d normally go around looking like that – I feel like a freak, like my face is dirty or something as I wade around in my life, but it will make a difference on the dancefloor.

So today after work I went to a real tanning salon now that the crappy job I did faded a bit and to fix the streaky errors. But that was an experience as well. I suppose it is probably best to have a person physically spray you in detail in one of those tents but honestly, I’m just not comfortable enough with my body to have someone see me like that yet. So I opted for the automatic tanning machine so I could be by myself in the room.

It made me think of this episode from the t.v. show “Friends” where Ross has an experience, shall we say, with a tanning machine. Seriously, people, this is funny. Click and watch! And, as an aside, the first tanning machine Ross enters is the exact same one that sprayed me today and it was definitely rigged for t.v….I will explain about the mist later in the post…

Well, I made sure to turn around when I was in there! No counting Mississippi for me! But even I learned a few things about those machines:

First, I closed my eyes for the first part (the front half) and when I opened them, I thought maybe my vision had changed. There was so much mist in the air that everything looked blurry. That was a little disconcerting, and not at all as clear as it was on the t.v. clip there.

Second, breathing was a bit of an issue. That stuff, whatever it is, kinda stinks, and is certainly a chemical. You can’t help but breathe it in when it is saturating the air so heavily. I personally have asthma so I’m a bit sensitive to things like that. I don’t know what a person can do about it, except maybe do the hand spraying in that tent, or have a fast-acting inhaler nearby should it trigger an asthma attack. Maybe pre-treat with albuterol before going in the machine if necessary. Oh, and just like when I go camping near dark soil, well, um, blowing my nose is colorful at the moment.

Third, they give you barrier cream to put on your nails and hands and feet, and I thought I applied it liberally…but again, my hands look like I’ve been making mudpies all day. I guess really slop that stuff on. The spray gets under your nails and looks grimy!

Lastly, they give you a cover for your hair, but make sure to keep it right at the hairline. Mine fell just a little below it and it created a line on my face. Nothing that can’t be fixed when I go in to tan again on Sunday, and nothing that couldn’t be blended with some make up, but still, it’s kind of tough to get it exactly right.

All in all, though, I should just thank my lucky stars I didn’t end up looking like Ross! You know?

Anyways, I don’t think my experience at Desert Classic will be anything at all like my dream. I fully anticipate it to be oodles of fun. I’m going to have my friend Colette there, and some other gals from Inna’s class on Tuesdays will be there too, as well as Ivan and Marieta, and Inna and Artem. I will get to meet Paragon in person, which I’m super excited about, and I have like, two local friends who are making the trek to come watch me in Palm Springs! I am so blown away by that. Truly. It feels awesome and I already feel supported and like people are rooting for me and I haven’t even taken one dance step yet! I am so blessed! Plus I can’t wait to make more friends.

So this weekend I will have a dance lesson or two, I need to get some fishnets, I want to do laundry and pack, I will get another layer of tan, I will get my fake nails put on. I will write my final checks for the dress and the entry fees. I will write as much as I can so I won’t have to complete writing assignments while I’m at the competition. In sum, it’s time for final preparations. I work Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday we all hop in the car and head off to Palm Springs. Thursday I dance all day long. I can’t hardly wait!

And Ivan….well for his final preparations, tomorrow he’s going to driving school! Ha ha! Silly man got a ticket. What a dork! But a cute one, nonetheless. 🙂

You Push A Big Button Today

On the heels of my last lesson with Ivan I decided that I should at least attempt to wear something different on my lesson today.  You know, about letting the sexiness out and all that.So I decided to wear this dress.  That cute doggie is my girl Buffy.  She was curious while I snapped the picture.  Thanks for the cameo, Buff.

You know, a normal person would just wear this dress, right?  But me, with my big body and my body issue complex, well, I couldn’t bear (or bare) to show that much skin.  So that was just the base of my ensemble.

Next, I added a skirt.  Why?  To put on top of the inner dress liner but under the kind of see-through part.  This way, you couldn’t see my huge ass and big belly as much.  The liner clung to my midsection and you could see every paunch, every pooch, every rounded mountain of flesh, and it wasn’t pretty.

Okay, now for the arms.  I got to cover the wings.  I can’t have all that jiggly flesh wagging in the wind with every cross-over.

Finally, the legs.  With all the cellulite, I need to keep the cottage cheese knees under wraps.  So on went a pair of black leggings with a little short skirt attached that folds over the top.

So the final outfit had four layers of material.

Maybe it’s not such a mystery why I sweat so much on all my lessons.  I’m always wearing three to four layers of clothing.

Usually, just my calves and forearms are showing.  Oh, and my face.  Everything else I try to cover, in black (it’s slimming, right?) so I look like a big black ball with calves and forearms sticking out.  I kind of want to just make the middle section just disappear, you know?

So I walked into my lesson all bundled up, with my cover-up tied around my waist so you could barely see the dress poking out.

Especially with all the commotion created by the chicks I gave him, we made it through Swing and Cha-Cha without Ivan noticing anything different in my clothing choices.

During the Cha-Cha, Ivan and I experimented with facial expressions.  I did everything! From faces I knew were hideous, just for fun, to “Pah!” and “Shah!” and winking and sticking out my tongue and anything else I could think of.  So that was good, I was playing and experimenting and feeling like it was okay to do that, but you know Ivan – he has to push it to the next level.

“What face you make when you thinking you so good?  When you so beautiful or proud or feel like you are better or stronger than anyone else?”

The question stopped me in my tracks.  I’ve been so focused, most of my life, on blending in, being good but not too good.  Standing out for all the right reasons, but not standing out too much.  Being a sheeple (people + sheep), so I fit in to the fold, being an individual that is slightly recognized, but not showy.

So with all this programming of how I should be, and how I should censor myself so that I’m outstanding, but not too outstanding, I was at a loss as to what a face like that would look like.

It’s not one I practice.

I have a complex, clearly, about being seen as “cocky” or “self-absorbed” or “vain.”

But what if, that was simply a well-founded pride of self?  A healthy appreciation of me?  Wouldn’t that be okay?  What would that look like?

I actually decided I should meditate on what that face would look like for me.  I do think I will explore it, and play in front of the bathroom mirror, alone, to see what it might look like for me to express confidence and love of self, even if some people might interpret it as being stuck up or haughty.  Let them think what they will…AHHHHH!  It kind of already freaks me out.  But whatever.  The lesson didn’t end there.

Because then I revealed myself…I made a fatal mistake, divulging I suppose my true intention with wearing the dress today, though I’d tried to do it in a way that didn’t make me too uncomfortable.

I lifted up the cover-up to wipe the sweat from my brow and the dress underneath was out in the open.

“What’s this dress you wearing?” Inquired Ivan.  “Why you wearing that cover up?  Take it off.”

“No Ivan.  It’s my arms.  I have to cover them.  I hate them.  They are so ugly.”

“I don’t care.  You have to take it off.  You have to loving the arms.  It’s just us here.  Take off the cover.”

Reluctantly, I peeled off the cover and tried my best to ignore my upper extremities.

That was traumatic enough for me, but not nearly enough for Ivan.

“Why you wearing all these layers?  You have to showing the fats.  You have pants on underneath, you should only be wearing top and bottom.  No extra stuff.  Lift up your skirt.”

“Ivan no!  Are you seriously crazy?”

He grabbed it and raised it and discovered my black skirt.

“Show the fats.  Show the fats!  You don’t have a big belly (which isn’t true, I totally do), you having a big ass.  But it’s okay.  Take off the skirt.  Show the fats.  Love the fats.”

He made me shed the extra skirt and then tuck the remainder of my dress into my bosom.  This revealed my legs.

“See.  You looking thinner with less layers.  Now your legs showing.  You going to be incomfortable (that’s an Ivan construct for uncomfortable) but it’s okay.  Now I see your legs.  I never see more than from the knee.  I want to see how they working.  Normally they are covered with a skirt and I can’t see what they doing.”

I was mortified.  But Ivan didn’t let up.

“You have big ass.  This okay.  Touch the ass.  Touch it!  Love it.”

He started playing a Latin Rumba.

“It’s okay, it okay.  See, don’t be scary the mirror.  Look in the mirror.”

Ivan made me stand beside him and face the mirror.

“Do a Latin basic.”

We stood there, side by side, with the romantic music playing, and began to move.  I have to say that my lines matched his.  And for the first time, you could really see my legs were doing exactly what they are supposed to do in that step.  Tears streamed down my face.

“See, the body so free now.  It never getting to be free.”

I have to admit that it felt nice to be cooler without all the layers.  But it is really hard to see myself.  I’ve mentioned that before, I know.

“See.  I not caring how the body look.  I see the straight legs.  I see the good technique.  Love the fats.  Show the fats.  It’s okay.”

I cried during the whole time we danced.  Silently, cleansing tears dropped to the floor as I rocked my hips, grabbed my fat ass like it was the most amazing thing on this earth, and danced as if I were a sexy beast.  I know my face didn’t show it with all the waterworks, but my body told the story.  My big, cumbersome, hefty body.  It talked.  It spoke loudly.  It screamed, “I am a slinky panther.  Watch me stalk my prey!” and “I may be three times her size, but there is a Karina Smirnoff in here, yes there is!

Seriously.  I heard it. 🙂

What a process this is for me!  I am so grateful to feel safe enough to go here – to have a dojo in which I can do my practice, where I can discover myself and work things out before I present myself to the world.  I am so very blessed to have this safe space to unwind the knots in my psyche – where I know on some level that I can let it ALL hang out, and I won’t be ridiculed, or made to feel inferior.  Indeed, I am encouraged, supported, and pushed forward into the realm of “incomfortable” – the place where the magic of breakthroughs happens, where my life changes, and where I am healed.

Gosh this is an emotional post for me.  I must say.  Reading it back for editing brings more tears to my face.  So be it.

It is worth it.

At the end of my lesson, Ivan looked at me and said, “You push a big button today.”  And boy did I.  I sure did.

This last little bit won’t make sense unless you read my previous post which you can read here.

Anyways, it was a big day.  Just as Ivan didn’t know he’d be surprised with some baby chicks today (see here if you missed that story), I didn’t know I’d be surprised with an opportunity to really step into loving myself, just as I am, while at the same time keeping the vision of what I want to become.  I didn’t know I’d have such a strong chance to connect with my inner tigress, and feel safe enough to shed layers of clothing, which, one could imagine, was a metaphorical representation of shedding layers of psychic and emotional protection so that I feel secure enough to fully and finally unleash my whole self.

On a somewhat funny side note, I also didn’t know that the studio would look suspect with my layers of clothing strewn across the floor from when I’d peeled them off!  Trust me – I was still completely covered from ankles to chest, even with all the changes and nothing improper happened.  But I have to admit, I freaked a little when Ivan’s next student walked in the door!  What must she have thought, seeing my skirt lifted up and articles of clothing laying hither and thither?

Well, you know what?  Who cares?  Who cares what she thought.  It was none of her business, really.  And it is none of my business what she may or may not thought of me.  What matters is what I think of me.  And what I think of me today, was that I was courageous.  No matter what that looks like, I went to a place I’ve never gone.  And that, my friends, is progress.  Woo hoo!

Holy Hell!  What a day.  What a post.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow….

Love,

Button-Pushing-Stef

This Dress Has A Life Of Its Own!

When I was going to compete in my first competition back in 2008 I needed a dress.  My then instructor, Matt, took me to see Julia Gorchakova because besides being American Rhythm Champion with Bob Powers 12 times (see why below)

 

she is also a ballroom dress designer.  As you can imagine, I couldn’t buy something off the rack at my size so needed to have a dress made for me. 

You can see some of Julia’s designs here: http://artistryinmotiondesigns.com/

I didn’t know the first thing about a ballroom dress except that I needed one to do the competition.  I was like, Julia, do whatever you want.  Yeah, red and black would be great. 

She did her best to emphasize my good parts and minimize the bad and the picture above is the dress she created for me.

Little did I know that this dress would have a life of its own – a purpose greater than I could imagine.

I thought I’d just wear it until I lost enough weight to get another amazing dress.  So far she has been with me for 3 competitions and will most likely be adorning me for a few more this year.

But first, it will adorn another dancer in March!

This dress, let’s christen her “Bertha,” well she traveled across the country this week to visit my friend Ellen, who I met through the blog.

Ellen was pretty happy to see her.  When Bertha arrived, Ellen wrote to me:

The dress arrived today!! It is AMAZING!! Soooo beautiful I can’t begin to say – and ….. It fits!!

I LOVE that you have a full bra in it! I laughed and thought –  a girl after my own heart!  Seriously – it fits very comfortably.  I’m attaching photos I took of myself with my sneakers on – I literally ran when the mailman got here – grabbed the box and tried it on ( sorry –I look like a mess!) but I was soooo happy when it fit!!

I also have a “necklace” or hairpiece that matches perfectly (looks light in the pic but the color is actually a perfect match!)  – I will send it back to you with the dress – it belongs with it!

See photos!

Thank you soooooo much!! I am thrilled!!

Well, this made my day.  Here’s what I wrote back:

I told my husband about how you got the package and ran to try on the dress and took pictures of it with sneakers on because you were so excited about it.  PRICELESS!  I just think that is SO cool…and what I’m trying to express (if not eloquently) is that others in my life think it is so great that you will be wearing my/the dress.  I especially want to tell Julia (she is who made my dress) about this turn of events.  I never imagined that the purpose of my dress would extend beyond me wearing it.  Now that you will be dancing in it…well…I just think that is so very amazing!!!!  I can almost palpably feel how good you will feel to be dancing in it.. Doing the waltz, you dress will be sparkling under the lights, your leg action will be highlighted by a red chiffon skirt…..Well, that’s how I see it in my head.  I just think you are darling and deserve the very, very best.  I’m ecstatic that my dress might slightly enhance your own natural beauty, strength, and grace.  Just so cool.

Ellen wrote back:

Aw Stef –

Thanks!  I am so touched that you feel good about sharing your dress!  It is beautiful and I was so thrilled when it fit!

I am fine with you telling people who I am  – it’s absolutely ok with me –I don’t get embarrassed by much! Well, maybe if you were a really good-looking guy… then I’d become either an idiot, a 12-year-old girl and feel like I couldn’t have a normal conversation, or a really great coach ( nice security to keep someone from seeing you as anything else!) but that’s usually it.

I mean even when I go to a social dance someplace I don’t know –and someone asks me to dance – I used to get flustered and freaked out because I suck at following.  Plus I dance mostly International, which isn’t social, so I don’t know many social steps, and I am not a “natural” dancer!  It used to freak me out and I would sit in a corner almost and be embarrassed.  But something hit me last year – maybe it was turning 50 or maybe I was just tired of putting energy into silly things – and I decided “who cares!?”  I mean, seriously… who really cares if I screw up a dance or don’t know the steps or can’t keep up or whatever?  It’s one dance.  If they don’t like how I dance they don’t have to ask me again – and one dance isn’t a lot out of someone’s lifetime – they’ll survive having danced with someone at my level.  As long as I can try, and have fun doing it – then screw it!  So I am giving up what other people think of me.  Frankly – all the things I worry about what other people think of me – what I wore, what I said, what I did, if I ask any one of those people about one of the events or days 7 days later (often even 1 day later) they don’t even remember what I did!! So I worried and stressed over which outfit, or missing a step, or the right words, or whatever, and the only one it matters to is me.  So I am  choosing not to worry any more – ok it all sounds great  – but I know I am human and will still care – but this is my intention!

I’m so excited that you know Julia!  She is awesome  – a beautiful dancer and dressmaker.  I did not realize that she had made your dress; of course it is incredible!! It is sooooo beautiful.

Well, yes she did, and yes, Bertha is beautiful. 

Ellen has promised me more pictures and a blog post.  She’s going to take the dress to her lesson on Thursday to show her pro.  I can hardly wait to hear all about it.  I love that Ellen is choosing to “live out loud” and that part of that will be to wear this dress, that Julia made, so many years ago.

The story continues and I can’t hardly wait to see what happens next!